In what, then, are justification and sanctification alike? (a) Both proceed originally from the free grace of God. It is of His gift alone that believers are justified or sanctified at all. (b) Both are part of that great work of salvation which Christ, in the eternal covenant, has undertaken on behalf of His people. Christ is the fountain of life, from which pardon and holiness both flow. The root of each is Christ. (c) Both are to be found in the same persons. Those who are justified are always sanctified, and those who are sanctified are always justified. God has joined them together, and they cannot be put asunder. (d) Both begin at the same time. The moment a person begins to be a justified person, he also begins to be a sanctified person. He may not feel it, but it is a fact. (e) Both are alike necessary to salvation. No one ever reached heaven without a renewed heart as well as forgiveness, without the Spirit’s grace as well as the blood of Christ, without a meetness for eternal glory as well as a title. The one is just as necessary as the other.
~ J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
“Now, in order that true religion may shine upon us, we ought to hold that it must take its beginning from heavenly doctrine and that no one can get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture.”
~ John Calvin (1509-1564)
[Biblical] doctrine is the framework of life – the skeleton of truth, to be clothed and rounded out by the living grace of a holy life.
~ Adoniram Gordon (1836-1895)
After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.
~ London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 VI.II
“Let God be exalted, The Rock of my salvation!”
~ 2 Samuel 22:47 (NKJV)
The doctrine of God’s immutability is of the highest significance for religion. The contrast between being and becoming marks the difference between the Creator and the creature. Every creature is continually becoming. It is changeable, constantly striving, seeks rest and satisfaction, and finds this rest in God, in Him alone, for only He is pure being and no becoming. Hence, in Scripture God is often called the Rock.
~ Herman Bavinck (1854-1921)
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel~ Colossians 1:3-5 (NKJV)
Paul continues his greeting to the Christians at Colossae by acknowledging his thanks for God’s sovereign work of salvation and His precious gift of faith in Christ Jesus that has spread among them. The Apostle, verse 4, especially recognizes these believers for their love for all the saints. Their affection for fellow disciples of the Lord Jesus appears to have been well-known for Paul and Timothy to have heard of it from afar. Oh that more true Christians today would have their reputation for love precede them in their dealings with others!
And yet though these faithful Colossians were known for their exceeding earthly good, verse 5, Paul commends them for keeping their hope and gaze fixed upon the marvelous glory which was laid up and awaited them in heaven itself. For heaven, the place of unfettered communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, is truly the eternal prize and most precious blessing of those who trust in Him! Believers are but pilgrims and strangers here on earth. We know this is not our home, we are but passing through. And like the Colossians, we lay our everlasting hope above.
Finally, at the end of verse 5, we find the cornerstone and foundation for the faith, love and hope of the saints dwelling in Colossae, it is the “the word of truth of the gospel” which they had heard, believed and embraced. Wherever true Christianity will be found, it will be accompanied by the words of truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There will be sound doctrine and godly teaching which humbles man and exalts Christ! Though without the words of truth as they pertain to the Gospel, a form of religion might be found, it will most assuredly lack the essential, saving, and effectual substance that is the fruit of the glorious words of truth.
A vibrant living faith is rooted in sound doctrine and godly Scriptural teaching. The blessings of a deep faith in Christ, an abiding love for God and others and the secure hope of your place in heaven are a consequence of being washed in the words of truth. Paul praises these qualities among the believers at Colossae. The Apostle thanks God, our Father, for these beautiful spiritual favors present among these saints. May we too seek the characteristics of faith, hope and love in our lives and thank God when He is pleased to grant them to us as well.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.~ Colossians 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Paul begins his letter to the Church at Colossae in his customary manner. He addresses his position and authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ who is so by nothing less than the divine will of God. In this case, Paul adds to his greeting Timothy, his faithful protégé, who had been accompanying him on his missionary journeys. The Apostle has written an epistle to the saints, the Spirit wrought believers in Christ, who worship, live, serve and fellowship together in Colossae, the celebrated city of Phrygia, in Asia Minor.
To these beloved people, both men and women alike, Paul offers his introductory benediction: Grace and peace… These words are meant to summarize what it means to belong to Christ. To know the grace and peace that comes from God our Father is to know the Lord Jesus Christ. For in Christ alone, is there grace and peace with a holy, just and righteous God. Meditate on that phrase for a moment, “in Christ”, for it is in Him all the blessings and goodness of God dwell.
Christians today should do all they can to exhibit the grace and peace of God to others. How desperately this sin-darkened world needs to embrace saving grace and experience godly peace. If you yourself are “in Christ”, then you can be a divine instrument for spreading the grace and peace of God among your neighbors, friends and family. Let us, like the Apostle Paul, be eager to be in this holy service of sharing the grace and peace of the Lord that others may to come to taste of Jesus Christ, and know that He is good.